NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2020

The Lightning, Bruins, and Avalanche march on to the second round, the Canucks have the Blues on the brink of elimination, and the Canadiens stave off elimination. Check out the recaps in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brayden Point’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 series-clinching victory in Game 5 of their first-round series, avenging last year’s first-round elimination by the Blue Jackets. Point also picked up two assists while Nikita Kucherov collected three helpers. Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno each had a goal and an assist for the Jackets.

 

 

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was easily the most entertaining game of this series. The Lightning saw an early 2-0 lead erased as the Jackets took a 4-2 lead, but rallied back to tie the game, setting the stage for Point’s overtime heroics. It was a tough loss for the plucky Jackets, but their lack of scoring depth cost them against a Lightning club more motivated and better-prepared compared to last year’s series.

Patrice Bergeron’s goal in the dying seconds of the second period held up as the winner to give the Boston Bruins a series-clinching 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of their opening-round series. David Krejci tallied the game-tying goal in the second period and the Bruins shut the door on the Hurricanes in the third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins recovered their dominant form following a lackluster round-robin. They also overcame the departure of starting goalie Tuukka Rask for family reasons midway through this series. The Hurricanes have a bright future but they still have depth issues to sort out. Losing sniper Andrei Svechnikov to a leg injury in Game 3 didn’t help.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (two goals, two assists) carried his club to a series-clinching 7-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes in Game 5 of their first-round series. Nazem Kadri also scored twice for the Avs in their second-straight lopsided win. Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper gave up six goals on 30 shots. Following the game, it was revealed Arizona forward Christian Dvorak played this series with a separated shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t blame Kuemper for his club’s implosion. The Coyotes were overmatched from the start, and it was only because of their starting goaltender that they kept this series reasonably close through the first three games. The dam burst in Game 4 and there was no stopping the Avs’ offensive flood in Game 5.

The Vancouver Canucks have the defending champion St. Louis Blues on the brink of elimination following a 4-3 comeback win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in their series. The Canucks overcame a 3-1 deficit with unanswered second-period goals by J.T. Miller, Jake Virtanen, and Tyler Motte, who scored twice in this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues appeared to have this one in the bag when they went up 3-1, but they sagged as the Canucks pushed back throughout the second period. It was a costly win for the Canucks as defenseman Alexander Edler left the game after being struck in the head by a skate. An update on his status could come later today.

The Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination with a wild 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of their first-round series. Joel Armia scored twice, Nick Suzuki tallied the game-winner, and Brendan Gallagher snapped his goalless drought. Jakub Voracek scored twice for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most physical contest of the series. Jesperi Kotkaniemi earned a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Travis Sanheim in the second period, which the Flyers cashed in on with two power-play goals. The Habs rallied back with two goals to regain the lead. Joel Farabee tied it early in the third before Nick Suzuki and Phillip Danault put it away for the Habs. Gallagher set the tone for the Habs with his feisty play but may have suffered a fractured jaw after being cross-checked in the mouth by Matt Niskanen, who could face supplemental discipline.

HEADLINES

MASSLIVE.com: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask reportedly left the club to deal with a specific family emergency. Rask spoke with WEEI’s Greg Hill, who said the netminder received a call from his wife that there was a medical emergency with their daughter. Hill didn’t reveal the details of what Rask told him, adding that the goalie’s daughter is okay now.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck will be in the lineup against the Washington Capitals in Game 5 tonight. Clutterbuck left Game 4 following a low hit from Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas. The Islanders lead the series 3-1.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): James Mirtle reports the Toronto Maple Leafs received permission from the Minnesota Wild to speak with former head coach Bruce Boudreau. No formal interview has been conducted and the Leafs declined to comment, but sources close to Boudreau say he’s intrigued. The Leafs seek a replacement for departed assistant coach Paul McFarland.

TSN: The Washington Capitals signed goaltender Zach Fucale to a one-year, two-way contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2020

More reaction to the draft lottery results, plus the latest on Bruce Boudreau, Chris Kreider, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Bob Wojnowski believes the Red Wings got burned by what he considers the NHL’s draft lottery buffoonery. The Wings had this season’s worst record but fell to fourth overall in the draft order as a placeholder club took the top spot in Phase 1 of the lottery draw on Friday.

The results of the 2020 NHL Draft lottery has sparked criticism of the process (Photo via NHL.com).

You put your fate in random acts, expect random, inexplicable results,” writes Wojnowski, going on to call the lottery “an embarrassment”. He noted the Wings had an 18.5 percent chance of winning the draft lottery, yet the odds were a combined 24.5 percent that one of the eight teams eliminated from the qualifying round of the upcoming 24-team playoff tournament would get the prize. “And here’s the ridiculous part: it’s exactly what the NHL planned to happen.”

THE TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox believes the NHL Draft hasn’t made much sense for years. He thinks Friday’s lottery results destroyed the belief that it’s about fairness of competition, allowing weaker teams an opportunity to compete with stronger clubs.

Cox suggests there’s little evidence the draft helps weaker clubs. “In most cases, they’re weak because they’re badly run,” he said. Cox makes the case for a free market system allowing the top prospects to sign with whoever they choose once they turn 18. He feels it would motivate teams to improve how they run their operations as a way to woo the best young talent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The anger felt by Red Wings fans over the results of the lottery is understandable, but even if this had been a normal draft year, there’s a good chance the lottery balls still wouldn’t have fallen their way. In 2017, for example, the Colorado Avalanche were the league’s worst team but dropped to fourth as the Devils won the lottery.

That’s cold comfort for the Wings and their fans, but they could still end up with a very good player, perhaps a potential superstar, with the No. 4 pick. Just like the Avs did when they selected Cale Makar three years ago.

Don’t expect the NHL to take up Cox’s suggestion to scrap the draft in favor of an open market. The last thing they want is the best prospects clustering toward a handful of clubs.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Michael Russo reports former Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau is hoping this season won’t be his last as an NHL bench boss.

The plan was when we signed here that this was it for me, and this is where we were going to end up. Even though I hope it’s not, it’s just tough when it goes this way.”

Boudreau has two years remaining in an advisory role with the Wild, but he doesn’t know if general manager Bill Guerin will take advantage of it.

NEWSDAY: New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider (broken foot) and Micheal Haley (torn abdominal muscle) have fully recovered from their injuries and ready to return to action.

STLTODAY.COM: Recently retired NHL player Chris Thorburn hopes to mentor young pros.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020

Wild fire head coach Bruce Boudreau, Oilers winger Zack Kassian receives a seven-game suspension, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rallied the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The loss leaves the Jets (63 points) one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Jason Zucker scored his first two goals as a Pittsburgh Penguin in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

Jason Zucker tallied his first two goals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected three assists for the Penguins (76 points), who sit three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. The slumping Canadiens (61 points) remain seven points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

The New York Rangers picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist while Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves. The Jackets (71 points) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth while the Rangers are seven points behind them.

Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. With 69 points, the Hurricanes sit two points behind the Blue Jackets.

HEADLINES

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday fired head coach Bruce Boudreau, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant coach Dean Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers questioned why this move was made when the Wild have won six of their last 10 games and sit just three points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. General manager Bill Guerin believes the club could benefit from a different voice behind the bench. Considering Guerin also traded winger Jason Zucker earlier this week to Pittsburgh, it appears he’s trying to motivate his club over the remainder of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to his move.

TSN: The NHL department of player safety handed Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian a seven-game suspension for kicking Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in the chest on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics wonder why he didn’t receive a harsher punishment. Perhaps the fact Cernak wasn’t injured explains the league’s rationale behind the decision. Regardless, I believe Kassian’s skating on thin ice. He’s a repeat offender, having been previously suspended seven times by the league, including a two-game suspension last month for roughing Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. One more suspendable offense after this one could lead to a punishment harsher than the 20-game one he received in 2010.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placed in his chest to monitor and control his heartbeat. The Blues will provide another update on his condition next week. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident during a game on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and had to be revived with a defibrillator.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon said there’s nothing in the CBA that prevents Bouwmeester from returning to action with a pacemaker. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that he will.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson requires surgery on his right knee and could be sidelined for eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That timeline means Johnsson won’t return until the playoffs. The Leafs can place him on long-term injury reserve and use the cap savings ($3.4 million) to add a replacement before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Because there’s no salary cap in the postseason, the Leafs wouldn’t have to shed salary when Johnsson returns to the lineup.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have yet to provide an update on the status of winger Alex Tuch, who injured his left leg against the Blues on Thursday.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks announced winger Micheal Ferland suffered concussion-like symptoms during an AHL rehab game last night. His last game with the Canucks was Dec. 10.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on waivers. Bogosian has only appeared in 19 games since returning from hip surgery in November.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki suffered a high-ankle injury on Thursday.










With Babcock Fired, Which NHL Coaches Are Next on the Chopping Block?

With Babcock Fired, Which NHL Coaches Are Next on the Chopping Block?

 










Sense or Nonsense – Early NHL Rumors of Coaching Changes

Sense or Nonsense – Early NHL Rumors of Coaching Changes

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2019

The latest on Dustin Byfuglien, Kyle Turris, Jake Muzzin and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM LATEST TSN “INSIDER TRADING”

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s a growing sense of optimism that Dustin Byfuglien could return to the Winnipeg Jets. There’s still no guarantee or timeline for the big defenseman’s return. Byfuglien would be a welcome addition to the Jets’ struggling blueline.

Could Dustin Byfuglien return to the Winnipeg Jets? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will give Byfuglien the time and space he needs to reach a decision. You can bet they’re hoping his return comes sooner rather than later.

Bob McKenzie believes it’s worth watching Kyle Turris’ situation with the Nashville Predators. The 30-year-old center is earning $6 million annually with five seasons remaining on his contract but he’s also seeing fourth-line minutes. McKenzie doesn’t think it’s any secret general manager David Poile was trying to move Turris this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Turris’ reduced ice time he has four points in six games this season. That puts him on a 54-point pace and could make him attractive to clubs in need of depth at center ice. That hefty cap hit, however, could make Turris difficult to move. Poile doesn’t pick up part of a player’s salary to facilitate a deal but he might have to break with that tradition in this case.

Pierre LeBrun believes the Toronto Maple Leafs could find it challenging to re-sign Jake Muzzin. The 30-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

LeBrun said there have been no contract discussions, in part because the Leafs were focused on re-signing their restricted free agents this summer. Blueliners Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci are also slated for UFA status. LeBrun thinks the Leafs want to take some time to evaluate and prioritize those rearguards. They can’t afford to re-sign all three and might not be able to re-sign two of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs have over $65.5 million invested in 11 players for 2020-21. Muzzin and Barrie could cost at least a combined $13 million to re-sign. That won’t leave much for the rest of the roster. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas did a good job juggling his limited salary cap space this summer. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off again.

LeBrun and McKenzie reported the struggling Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils will remain patient with their respective head coaches. Speculation arose in recent days over the future of Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and Devils bench boss John Hynes, with false reports yesterday claiming Hynes was fired. Dreger also noted the Dallas Stars have stumbled from the gate but there’s no sense of panic coming from the front office or the coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hynes could feel the heat much sooner than the others. Expectations were high following the summer’s acquisitions of P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, and promising Jack Hughes. Many observers predicted they would be a playoff contender. If they don’t turn things around soon, calls for Hynes’ firing will grow among Devils followers.